e I am going to fly far away into the warm countries. Will you come with me ? You can sit upon my back, only tie yourself fast with your sash, then we shall fly from the ugly Mole and his dark room—away, far away, over the mountains, to the warm countries, where the sun shines more beautifully than here, where it is always summer, and there are lovely flowers. Only fly with me, you dear little Thumbelina, you who saved my life when I lay frozen in the dark earthy passage.'
' Yes, I will go with you ! ' said Thumbelina, and she seated herself on the bird's back, with her feet on his outspread wings, and bound her girdle fast to one of his strongest feathers ; then the Swallow flew up into the air over forest and over sea, high up over the great mountains, where the snow always lies ; and Thumbelina felt cold in the bleak air, but then she crept under the bird's warm feathers, and only put out her little head to admire all the beauties beneath her.
At last they came to the warm countries. There the sun shone far brighter than here ; the sky seemed twice as high ; in ditches and on the hedges grew the most beautiful blue and green grapes ; lemons and oranges hung in the woods ; the air was fragrant with myrtles and balsams, and on the roads the loveliest children ran about, playing with the gay butterflies. But the Swallow flew still farther, and it became more and more beautiful. Under the most glorious green trees by the blue lake stood a palace of dazzling white marble, from the olden time. Vines clustered around the lofty pillars ; at the top were many swallows' nests, and in one of these the Swallow lived who carried Thumbelina.
' Here is my house,' said the Swallow. ' But if you will select for yourself one of the splendid flowers which grow down yonder, then I will put you into it, and you shall have everything as nice as you can wish.'
' That is capital,' cried she, and clapped her little hands.
A great marble pillar lay there, which had fallen to the ground and had been broken into three pieces; but between these pieces grew the most beautiful great white flowers. The Swallow flew down with Thumbelina, and set her upon one of the broad leaves. But how great was the